Everything You Need to Know About Standard & Performance Harley Hubs
What’s a Hub?
Wondering what all the hubbub is about motorcycle hubs? Located in the center of the bike’s front and rear wheels, the motorcycle hub connects the wheel to the motorcycle’s axle. It is the core of the wheel assembly, housing the wheel’s bearings and providing the attachment point to the wheel’s spokes or rims.
How a Harley Hub Works
The hub’s primary functions are to provide:
- Bearing Support: Hubs contain bearings that allow the wheel to rotate smoothly. These bearings, typically ball bearings or roller bearings, reduce friction and enable the wheel to spin freely.
- Wheel Attachment: Hubs secure the wheel to the axle, ensuring it remains in place and rotates as intended. The wheel’s spokes or rim attach to the hub, creating a complete wheel assembly.
- Weight Distribution: The hub plays a role in distributing the weight of the motorcycle and rider evenly across the wheel. Proper weight distribution is crucial for stability and control.
- Power Transmission: Hubs transfer power to the wheel.
Types of Harley Hubs
There are different hub designs to suit different types of motorcycles and riding styles. These Harley performance hub parts include:
- Performance Harley Hubs: A lighter, stronger, less bulky performance hub that is machined to be as light as possible but still maintains or surpasses the strength of a conventional original equipment manufacturer (OEM) hub. We’ll talk more about it’s benefits later in this article.
- Conventional Hubs: Durable and easy to maintain, this is a classic design found on many standard motorcycles. Conventional hubs feature bearings, a central hub body, and attachment points for spokes or rims.
- Disc Brake Hubs: The disc rotor is attached to the hub; calipers apply pressure to the rotor to slow down or stop the motorcycle.
- Single-sided Swingarm Hubs: Used on bikes with single-sided swingarms. They provide a sleek, streamlined look while still offering the same core functions as other hubs.
- Drum Brake Hubs: Found mostly in older vintage motorcycle models, drum brakes are integrated into the hubs. This design is less prevalent with more modern bikes that employ disc brakes (see below).
- Hub-Centered Steering Hubs: An uncommon hub that is purposed for motorcycles that use sidecars, hub-centered steering hubs provide greater stability and control. While hub-centered steering has a number of advantages, it is considerably more expensive to manufacture and maintain and requires exceptionally experienced mechanics to tune and repair.
Harley Hub Maintenance
Proper maintenance of your Harley motorcycle hubs is essential for both safety and performance. Here are some key maintenance tips to follow:
- Regular Inspection: Periodically check for play or wobbling in the wheels, which could indicate loose or worn-out bearings that require replacement.
- Lubrication: Bearings within the hubs require lubrication. Consult your Harley motorcycle’s manual for the recommended lubrication intervals and use high-quality, motorcycle-specific grease.
- Seal Inspection: Ensure that the hub’s seals are in good condition. These seals keep dirt, debris, and moisture out, protecting the bearings and extending their lifespan.
- Wheel Truing: If you have spoked wheels, keep them properly trued to maintain even weight distribution and prevent vibration or handling issues.
- Brake Maintenance: If your hub houses the brake components, regularly inspect and maintain the braking system, including brake pads, rotors, and calipers.
- Proper Torque: When reinstalling wheels or hubs, tighten all fasteners to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specifications to prevent loose components that wear out faster and can endanger a safe ride.
Why RaceLox Performance Harley Hubs Are Not Just for Racing
There’s a common misconception that the term “performance hub” is reserved only for racing motorcycles. SMT only sells Harley performance hubs because we believe every bike needs to perform. The SMT Hub Upgrade option to the RaceLox Harley Hubs is made as light as possible but maintains the SMT strength for your custom Harley rims. These hubs are designed with Bagger Racing and V-Twin racing in mind but are also perfect for everyday use to gain much higher performance than the average cast or OEM hubs. The RaceLox Harley-Davidson Performance Hubs work best with all GT and PS series motorcycle wheels, Performance motorcycle wheels, and SMT-exclusive Racing HD wheels.
SMT Performance Parts Harley Hub Benefits
While often overshadowed by more glamorous Harley motorcycle performance parts, the hub is the unsung hero of your ride that deserves only high-performance parts. It provides the foundation for a safe, smooth, and enjoyable motorcycle journey. Understanding the type of hub on your Harley and how to properly maintain the hub are essential to keeping your motorcycle running optimally. Next time you take your Harley out for a spin, give thanks to the performance part that often gets overlooked but without which you couldn’t get to ride.